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Fears of medical bankruptcy rising during pandemic

Financial paperwork for bankruptcy
Americans’ fears of having to declare personal bankruptcy due to a medical issue are on the rise. (Source: Adobe Stock)

Half of Americans surveyed in a recent Gallup poll said they fear that costs related to a health crisis could drive them into personal bankruptcy. 

More than a quarter of those surveyed said they would also have to borrow to pay a medical bill of just $500. 

“Dovetailing with the new health-related concerns brought on by the coronavirus outbreak is the economic catastrophe that … persists in form of 28 million people receiving some form of unemployment aid at the end of July. Americans’ concerns about a major health event putting them in bankruptcy, while substantial in early 2019, are likely only intensified today because of the pandemic,” Gallup’s report stated.

Among more than 1,000 adults randomly selected for the survey, many also said they were already dealing with medical debt, with 15% indicating that at least one person in their household has existing medical bills that will not be fully repaid in the next 12 months.

Those in households earning less than $40,000 per year were more than four times as likely as those in households earning $100,000 or more to be currently dealing with long-term medical debt.  The rate of current medical debt was also about twice as high among people who identified themselves as political independents (18%) and Democrats (16%) as among Republicans (8%).

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